The advantages of a deep knowledge of the Bible are more than can be numbered here. It is the storehouse of God’s promises. It is the sword of the Spirit, before which temptation flees. It is the all-sufficient equipment for Christian usefulness. It is the believer’s guidebook and directory in all possible circumstances.

With this in mind, here are a few simple rules to help you study God’s Word for yourself.

Make time for Bible study.

The Divine Teacher ought to have fixed and uninterrupted hours. He deserves our freshest and brightest thoughts, and we must give Him our undivided attention. Therefore, we should aim at securing at least half an hour each day for the leisurely and loving study of the Bible.

To some this may seem a long time. However, it is seldom difficult to find time for business or pleasure appointments. If we mean to, we can. And the time will soon seem all too short. The more you read the Bible, the more you will want to read it.

Ask for understanding.

No one can so well explain the meaning of his words as he who wrote them. If, then, you want to read the Bible as you should, make much of the Holy Spirit, who inspired it. As you open the book, lift up your heart and say, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law” (Psalm 119:18 nasb).

Develop a plan.

There are many Bible reading plans, but on the whole there is probably no better way than to read it through once every year. It is wise to select a Bible with excellent marginal references, so it’s easy to turn to parallel passages.

No one would think of reading a letter, poem, or history as many read God’s Word. What wonder that they are so ignorant of its majestic prose, its exquisite lyric poetry, its massive arguments, its sublime imagery, and its spiritual beauty! These qualities combine to make it the King of Books.

It is sometimes helpful to read an entire book of the Bible at one sitting, devoting two or three hours to the sacred task. At other times it is more profitable to take an epoch, an episode, or a life, and compare all that is written of it in various parts of the Scripture. At other times it is good to follow one topic, as faith or love, by help of a concordance, from end to end of the inspired volume.

Let the whole Bible be your study, because “all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable” (2 Tim. 3:16). Let the Bible be its own dictionary, its own interpreter, its own best commentary. It is like a vast buried city, in which every turn of the spade reveals some new marvel, while passages branch off in every direction, calling for exploration.

Read with pen in hand.

None, in my judgment, have learned the secret of enjoying the Bible until they have begun to mark it neatly— underlining and dating special verses which have cast light on their path on special days; drawing railway connections across the pages between verses which repeat the same message or ring with the same note; jotting down new references or the catchwords of helpful thoughts. All these methods find plenty of employment for the pen, and fix our treasures for us permanently. Our Bible then becomes the precious memento of bygone hours, recording the history of our inner life.

Seek your personal profit.

During this time, do not read the Bible for others, for class or congregation, but for yourself. Bring all its rays to focus on your own heart. Never close the book until you feel that you are carrying away your portion of the meat. It is good at times to stop reading and seriously ask, “What does the Holy Spirit mean me to learn by this? What bearing should this have on my life? How can I work this into the fabric of my character?”

Turn reading into prayer.

If an example of holiness gleams before you, ask God to do as much for you. If a truth is revealed in all its intrinsic splendor, entreat that its brilliance may ever illuminate your life. If a cluster of heavenly fruit hangs within reach, gather it. If a promise lies on the page as a blank check, cash it. If a prayer is recorded, appropriate it and launch it as a feathered arrow from the bow of your desire.

Entwine the climbing creepers of holy desire about the latticework of Scripture. So shall you come to say with the psalmist, “Oh, how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day” (Psa. 119:97). (It is sometimes good to read over Psalm 119 on our knees; it is so full of devout love for the Bible.)

Practice what you learn.

I have saved this one thing for last because it is most important and should linger in the memory and heart: It is useless to dream of making headway in the knowledge of Scripture unless we are prepared to practice what we read. We are taught not for our pleasure only, but that we may do.

If we will turn each holy precept or command into instant obedience through the dear grace of Jesus Christ our Lord, God will keep nothing back from us. He will open to us His deepest and sweetest thoughts. But so long as we refuse obedience to even the least command, we shall find that the light will fade from the pages of Scripture, and the zest will die down quickly in our hearts.

This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success (Joshua 1:8).

 

Copyright © 2009 Revive magazine, Vol. 40, #3 “Bible Boredom,” by Life Action Ministries. Adapted from Fredrick Brotherton Meyer’s meditations in Light on Life’s Duties (Fleming H. Revell Co.,1895, pages 72–85). Meyer was a pastor, social worker, and author of more than seventy volumes on biblical truth.